Refinancing may refer to the replacement of an existing debt obligation with another debt obligation under different terms. The terms and conditions of refinancing may vary widely by country, province, or state, based on several economic factors such as, inherent risk, projected risk, banking regulations, borrower’s credit worthiness, and credit rating.
If the replacement of debt occurs under financial distress, refinancing might be referred to as debt restructuring.
A loan (debt) might be refinanced for various reasons:
1. To take advantage of a better interest rate (a reduced monthly payment or a reduced term)
2. To consolidate other debt(s) into one loan (a potentially longer/shorter term contingent on interest rate differential and fees)
3. To reduce the monthly repayment amount (often for a longer term, contingent on interest rate differential and fees)
4. To reduce or alter risk (e.g. switching from a variable-rate to a fixed-rate loan)
5. To free up cash (often for a longer term, contingent on interest rate differential and fees)
Refinancing are usually undertaken by borrowers who are in financial difficulty in order to reduce their monthly repayment obligations, with the penalty that they will take longer to pay off their debt or refinancing multiple debts makes management of the debt easier. If high-interest debt, such as credit card debt, is consolidated into the home mortgage, the borrower is able to pay off the remaining debt at mortgage rates over a longer period.
For home mortgages in the United States, there may be tax advantages available with refinancing and consulting with a qualified attorney at Turner Law Firm, PLLC can save thousands of dollars over the life of a mortgage.
Some fixed-term loans have penalty clauses (“call provisions”) that are triggered by an early repayment of the loan, in part or in full, as well as “closing” fees. There will also be transaction fees on the refinancing. These fees must be calculated before embarking on a loan refinancing, as they can wipe out any savings generated through refinancing. Penalty clauses are only applicable to loans paid off prior to maturity. If a loan is paid off upon maturity it is a new financing, not a refinancing, and all terms of the prior obligation terminate when the new financing funds pay off the prior debt.
If the refinanced loan has the same interest rate as previously, but a longer term, it will result in a larger total interest cost over the life of the loan, and will result in the borrower remaining in debt for many more years. Typically, a refinanced loan will have a lower interest rate. This lower rate, combined with the new, longer term remaining on the loan will lower payments.
A borrower should calculate the total cost of a new loan compared to the existing loan. The new loan cost will include the closing costs, prepayment penalties (if any) and the interest paid over the life of the new loan. This should be lower than the remaining interest that will be paid on the existing loan to see if it makes financial sense to refinance. By consulting with a qualified attorney at Turner Law Firm, PLLC we can assist in the risk vs. reward analysis.
A percentage of the total loan amount as an upfront payment. Typically, this amount is expressed in “points” (or “premiums”). 1 point = 1% of the total loan amount. More points (i.e. a larger upfront payment) will usually result in a lower interest rate. Some lenders will offer to finance parts of the loan themselves, thus generating so-called “negative points” (i.e. discounts).
No Closing Cost
Borrowers with this type of refinancing typically pay few if any upfront fees to get the new mortgage loan. This type of refinance can be beneficial provided the prevailing market rate is lower than the borrower’s existing rate by a formula determined by the lender offering the loan. Before you read any further do not provide any lender with a credit card number until they have provided you with a Good Faith Estimate verifying it is truly a zero cost loan. The appraisal fee cannot be paid for by the lender or broker so this will always show up in the total settlement charges at the bottom of your GFE.
This can be an excellent choice in a declining market or if you are not sure you will hold the loan long enough to recoup the closing cost before you refinance or pay it off. For example, you plan on selling your home in three years, but it will take five years to recoup the closing cost. This could prevent you from considering a refinance, however if you take the zero closing cost option, you can lower your interest rate without taking any risk of losing money.
This type of refinance may not help lower the monthly payment or shorten mortgage periods. It can be used for home improvement, credit cards, and other debt consolidation if the borrower qualifies with their current home equity; they can refinance with a loan amount larger than their current mortgage and keep the cash out.
In situations where the borrower has both a first and second mortgage, it is common to consolidate these loans as part of the refinance process. However, even if the borrower does not receive any net “cash out” as part of the transaction, in some cases lenders will consider this a cash-out transaction because of the “12-month rule”. This rule states that any refinance that occurs within 12 months of a second mortgage (that was not part of the original purchase transaction) is considered a cash-out refinance. At Turner Law Firm, PLLC we assist in the risk vs. reward analysis on saving interest fees over time.